Tuesday, July 22, 2008

At Long Last, The Beach!

Tan legs
Sandy hair
Salty skin
Aaah. . .
Feels like summer!

We finally got to the beach today, for the first time this summer. That is not counting a brief walk to the marina near our friend’s house last week, as we did not go in the water. Although my brave nine-year-old came close to falling in off the pier. . .

It is quite unusual for us to start our beach season so late into summer, but we were busy with several household projects that prevented our going until today. It helped that we had made plans with some friends to meet them there. This way we could not get side-tracked and miss another golden opportunity.

It did manage to rain at about noon, and I frequently looked worriedly out the window at the water in a wagon on the deck, judging the frequency of raindrops in the small pool. It seemed to clear up, and I called the beach to make sure the conditions there were friendly.

My friend called me at 1:00, just as the sun really came out to play, and we confirmed a 1:45 meeting. She was a little worried that something might happen to prevent her being there on time, having her own four children to get ready, and I promised not to throw her to the sharks if she was late.

What a fuss it is to get ready! I am a firm believer in packing light, and everyone must carry his or her fair share. Towels, water, sunscreen, a camera, a spare diaper, and sunglasses are all that we require. Hands are adequate tools for castle-building; a protein-packed lunch keeps us from having the munchies before dinner; and who needs a chair when you plan on being active on the shoreline?

Still we wound up being a half-hour late. We were about to get into the car, when my son announced he could not find his other water shoe. We were going to “the rocky beach”, and these were going to be a necessity. Everyone had to help him. I finally found it under a Little Tykes car in the back yard. That side-tracked us fifteen minutes.

Then, five minutes down the road, I realized I had forgotten the diaper bag. This I usually keep handy by the front door so I can quick grab it on my way out. But I had put it into the front closet while sweeping. I also had forgotten the vinegar, which would come in handy in the case of a jelly fish sting. (I know I am adding to the above short list. But an abundance of lion’s mane jelly fish had been big news in the newspaper over the weekend, with 30 stings per day being reported at this particular beach in contrast with the normal 2 per day.)

Fortunately, my friend, who is quite sweet and patient, was about 15 minutes late herself, thus shortening her wait for us.

We had a wonderful time, with no sign of jellyfish. The rain must have scared them away. It also kept away many other prospective beach clientele, and we had much of the shore to ourselves.

My toddler was a little difficult, not quite knowing what to think of the waves, sand, and rocks. It has been over six months since she was last at the beach. She did not like her water shoes; neither did she appreciate the sand and rocks on her bare feet. She could not decide if she wanted to be in the water or on dry land. Mommy’s arms would do. Suffice it to say that she tired me out, carrying her back and forth the entire time. Toward the end, she seemed to be more comfortable, so I think we have broken her in for the next visit.

After about two hours, my son thought he got stung by a jellyfish, and I treated him with the vinegar. All the kids suddenly decided that they were really itchy, coincidentally after having a seaweed fight. As no signs of a jellyfish sting have appeared on my son, I do believe it was just itchies from the seaweed.

Anyway, we were now afraid to have the children re-enter the water, and realized time was getting away from us. So we packed up our stuff, put it into our cars, and let them play on the playground for a spell.

We said good-bye at 5:40, the time I am usually cleaning up after dinner. Then we started planning for the post-beach cleanup.

“I get the first shower!” announced my eleven-year-old.

“I get the second!” declared my son.

“No, you always take too long and use up all the hot water. You have to go last,” decided my nine-year-old. I concurred.

The baby, who had missed out on her normal nap time, fell asleep on the way home. Now everything was completely off schedule. Dinner was not ready until 8:00, and my husband was quite surprised to find the baby still up when he arrived home at 9:30.

Fresh and clean after my long-awaited shower, I applied a little creamy baby oil to soften my sun-kissed skin. I felt like I had been to a spa.

And now it really feels like summer.

The painting above, “Bucket Brigade Children On Beach”, is an original by Kay Crain. This artwork is part of the dailypainters.com meme for sharing of artwork and blogs by artists and writers.

1 comment:

Loren Christie said...

I know how it feels to be the last to get the shower.